Like I said, it sounds like an abusive relationship.
I could go on about my tragedies, and all the ways I think my country has failed me. The list would be long. To a person with first world problems, my stories would inspire shock and awe. They may even move you to tears. Most people learn that life can be dark through singular catastrophes. I learned through fire trucks that couldn't put out fires, and friends burnt beyond recognition. But for a lot of my countrymen, my stories are the first world of the third world.
Last week CNN showed the first images of the Chibok girls in two years. I remember when it happened. I was in Lagos, Nigeria's commercial capital. At first we were not sure what happened. The numbers started at 85. Over the weekend, the military said that over a hundred of them had been rescued. And then the following week, it was revealed that none of them had been rescued and that the true figures were somewhere around 250. Even then, we were mostly silent.
I do not believe that our silence was borne of a lack of empathy. It may have been the shock of it. Some times it takes a little longer than the 24 hour news cycle for a news story to really hit home. Saratu the team leader of the Testimonial Archive Project - an organisation that documents the testimonies of those who survive the violence in North Eastern Nigeria said in the Guardian: "This is not the first time abductions have happened. This has been going on for half a decade. Boko Haram have had radical elements, which grew in prominence – and boldness – over the past three years, and it has been abducting girls ever since. I'm sure our government knew this has been happening for years. So my guess is they figured: 'What's one more?' They probably thought it would blow over."
I cannot say that this was why it took two weeks for our then President Goodluck Jonathan to speak about it, but it seemed that way at the time. And even when our government did speak, they seemed as ill informed and unprepared for it as we were. When the president's wife wailed about it, her crocodile tears were too little to late. Performed with great pomp and circumstance and no action. Her husband didn't even have the balls to visit the site of the devil's rapture.
There were protests in Abuja and Lagos. For weeks it was all anyone would talk about on twitter. Our government said that it was doing all that it could to bring them back, but only an idiot would have believed them. The last governments legacy will be its public devotion to the God, and its even larger devotion to cash. They weren't even sensitive enough to use the efficacy of Panama. This is why when the Brits rallied against David Cameron and called for him to resign, I laughed and thought, "I'll trade you our Goodluck for your David."
After a while, the noise died, and it was business as usual. You would hear one day that girls had been rescued, and you would think that they were the ones from Chibok. You would hear the next day that they weren't. It is difficult to deal with this sort of media rollercoaster while queueing 5 hours for petrol so you can get to work the next day, and going home to the fumes of melting candle wax.
Even now that new footage of them has emerged, we will talk about them for a week, while we queue for petrol and fight for dollars. Our government will dance a merry jig, and the rest of us will dance some version of the Lagos hustle.
If you are Nigerian you have been hurt. Someone somewhere has made a decision that has wounded you. With every act of corruption and every misplaced dollar someone has died. Politics isn't a game that the powerful play. It is the sword by which our lives are decided. When the sword hangs above us, slicing at will decade after decade you forget that it is there. It becomes a natural disaster when it really isn't. Your so called heavenly calamity is Bukola Saraki's million dollar house on 17 McDonald in Ikoyi, one of Lagos' pockets of wealth.
So why aren't you angry? Have you become so numb that the kidnapping of 200 teenage girls is not even worth a week of nightly tweets?